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Subject: table:is-sub-table attribute

Dear TC members,

we are discussing the "table:is-sub-table" attribute for a while now, 
but have not come to a conclusion yet.

What we have agreed is that the table:is-sub-table attribute should not 
be used to simulate merged table cells, and that the ODF specification 
should make that clear. What is still under discussion is the question 
whether it may be reasonable to deprecate the attribute at all.

We tried to get some input to the discussion by checking use cases for 
the is-sub-table attribute. One use case that was mentioned are sudoku 
tables, but there seem to be different opinions whether this is a good 
example or not. Another use case that was mentioned were spreadsheet 
tables, where sub tables in combination with the is-sub-table attribute 
could be used to store the result of array functions. However, 
sub-tables are not used that way as of today by the implementations that 
are known to us.

So, taking it all together, it seems to me that we cannot clearly say 
whether it is reasonable to deprecate the attribute or not based on use 

We discussed the situation in the last work call, and what we observed 
where was that a file format specification like ODF defines features, 
but cannot guarantee that these are used only in reasonable ways. This 
applies to the is-sub-table attribute, but to any other features as 
well. The reason we are discussing the attribute is that the ODF 
specification itself suggested to use it instead of col- and row-span 
attribute, which turned out to be inappropriate. We already agreed to 
change that. So based on that, the following recommendation has bee 
worked out (see

a) don't imply in the main specification that subtables should be used
to structure tables
b) note in A11Y guidelines that subtables should not be used and that
col/row-span be used instead...

The a11y guidelines contain already recommendations regarding 
is-sub-table. In the main specification, the examples in section 8.2.6 
would have to be removed, since they are the only hint that is-sub-table 
may be used as a replacement for row- and col-span.

Best regards


Michael Brauer, Technical Architect Software Engineering
Sun Microsystems GmbH             Nagelsweg 55
D-20097 Hamburg, Germany          michael.brauer@sun.com
http://sun.com/staroffice         +49 40 23646 500

Sitz der Gesellschaft: Sun Microsystems GmbH, Sonnenallee 1,
        D-85551 Kirchheim-Heimstetten
Amtsgericht Muenchen: HRB 161028
Geschaeftsfuehrer: Wolfgang Engels, Dr. Roland Boemer
Vorsitzender des Aufsichtsrates: Martin Haering

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